January 25, 2024

ReadyVB: Have a Winter Vehicle Kit Ready in Your Car

Sometimes drivers may be caught in a snowstorm or have to commute in the elements — this is where a car emergency kit is essential.

Car Driving In Snow With Ready VB Logo

Frigid nights and frosty mornings have arrived in Hampton Roads. So far, Virginia Beach has dodged snowy weather (knock on wood!) — but Virginia Beach Emergency Management wants residents and businesses to be prepared even before inclement weather hits. 

In our previous blog, we gave residents winter weather preparedness tips, including how to prepare your home for winter weather impacts from snow, ice, wind and cold. 

When a snowstorm hits, the safest place to be is inside. But sometimes drivers may be caught in a snowstorm or have to commute in the elements — this is where a car emergency kit is essential. 

During a severe snowstorm on Jan. 3, 2022, hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95 were stranded in their vehicles for almost 24 hours. Some drivers had no water or extra protection such as extra coats, covers or gloves in their disabled vehicles. Fortunately, there were no reported deaths or injuries from the gridlock. 

What to Include in a Car Emergency Kit 

A few suggested items: 

  • Blankets 
  • Drinking water and snacks (include enough for pets as well) 
  • Boots 
  • Basic first-aid kit 
  • Warm coat and insulating layers (sweatpants, gloves, hat, socks,) 
  • Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes 
  • Basic set of tools 
  • Car emergency warning devices such as road flares or reflectors 
  • Ice scraper/snow brush 
  • Jumper cables/jump pack 
  • Fire extinguisher 
  • Cash 
  • Items for children such as diapers, baby wipes, toys, etc. 
  • Flashlight, with extra batteries 
  • Hand warmers 
  • Paper map 
  • Portable smartphone power bank 
  • Extra medication 
  • Garbage bags 
  • Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping, cat litter 
  • Tarp, raincoat and gloves 
  • Shovel 

Source: Virginia Department of Emergency Management 

Remember to prepare your vehicle before an incoming winter storm. This includes testing your car battery, antifreeze level, servicing your radiator system, ensuring windshield wiper fluid has wintertime mix, and checking tires and wiper blades. 

More Resources 

VBAlert: Residents can stay informed during local emergencies including major weather events by signing up for VBAlert. Text “VBAlert” to 67283 or sign up at VirginiaBeach.gov/VBAlert to receive important messages and emergency alert notifications from the City of Virginia Beach and Emergency Management during inclement weather. 

Emergency Preparedness Website: Residents can also find valuable resources, tips and information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency at VirginiaBeach.gov/ReadyVB

Sign up & Subscribe: In additional to signing up for VBAlert, residents are also encouraged to subscribe to the City of Virginia Beach’s weekly email newsletter, “Be in the Know,” at VirginiaBeach.gov/BeInTheKnow

The City of Virginia Beach Emergency Management team promotes a comprehensive emergency management program to mitigate Virginia Beach's impacts from man-made, natural or technological disasters. Learn more at VirginiaBeach.gov/ReadyVB. 

Contact Information

Emergency Management

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